The Inner Struggle

A Little more on Faith

“En Priere”, Bill Douglas, from the album “Kaleidoscope”, (1993)

“Kaleidoscope”, (1993)

“Kaleidoscope”, (1993)

In the previous post I remarked that “When I think about this (faith) I wonder that when we transcend the natural self centeredness of the human person, are we no longer just a human? Has God entered into our soul and rendered us “supernatural” in proportion to the vitality and strength of our faith?”

I noted that “St. Thomas Aquinas says “Faith is a habitual disposition of soul by which eternal life begins in us”. It is a “beginning of eternal life”.”

But, as mentioned, other thoughts arise. Have I changed in ways that mean I cannot worship God as well, because my self regard is actually stronger for that thought?

I do not believe that, but I look beyond my current view of things and wonder if this is dangerous. Am I just indulging in “being clever”? I think that any sentient entity is necessarily filled with contradictions. Another take on the faith question is that we are actually created to be faith filled as part and parcel of our human nature.

Rather than taking some consolation in feeling a little faith we perhaps should realize that we were created to be faith filled as fully developed humans … we were created to be filled with faith, and to lack faith in full measure is a sign that we are actually crippled humans, a sign that we are not fully human, not fully aware of our true nature, proto-humans, more like animals or creatures without souls, the less faith we have.

Rather than feeling “special” because we have found some small amount of faith we should understand that by faith we have moved a little way towards being “full” humans, not crippled travesties of what God designed, defrauded by the devil of our true nature and our true happiness.

And what is the unfortunate outcome of this historic fraud under which we cripples still labor?

The reality of a “faithless” life seems to be that we “the masses” (understanding myself, the “I” as a charter member of “the masses”) mostly wallow along in our immediate self-centric drama, dealing with all the unexpected natural fallout of making bad decisions.

And of course we are not responsible, are we? We spend huge effort blaming the unexpected outcomes on circumstances, or politicians, or evil “conspiracies”, or family, or our boss, or the media, or our landlord, or …. fill in your convenient A_ _hat of choice.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. BFF’s (Larry MacDougal/CP)

After all, any one who points out the reality of bad choices MUST be a rude and unlikable provocateur, which observation may well be exactly true, but their rudeness doesn’t change the truth or the reality.

I touched on the concept of the masses in a previous post a few years ago.  What I am referring to is not the popular media caricature  of the masses and the elite, the current religion of progressives everywhere, that the “masses” must be governed because they do not know how to look after themselves, its all “for their own good”.

No, I am in mind of the idea as written about by Albert J. Knock in his essay which first appeared in The Atlantic Monthly in 1936 under the title “Isaiah’s Job”.

article found at:  http://mises.org/library/isaiahs-job

I quote (since I could not do better) :

*****

Albert J. Knock

Albert J. Knock

As the word masses is commonly used, (especially today in the early 21st century) it suggests agglomerations of poor and underprivileged people, laboring people, proletarians, and it means nothing like that; it means simply the majority. The mass man is one who has neither the force of intellect to apprehend the principles issuing in what we know as the humane life, nor the force of character to adhere to those principles steadily and strictly as laws of conduct; and because such people make up the great and overwhelming majority of mankind, they are called collectively the masses. The line of differentiation between the masses and the Remnant is set invariably by quality, not by circumstance. The Remnant are those who by force of intellect are able to apprehend these principles, and by force of character are able, at least measurably, to cleave to them. The masses are those who are unable to do either.”

*****

Now, with this idea of the masses and the remnant in mind and given the proclivities of the modern progressive  “masses”, it comes as no surprise that we have arrived at the social conditions and dilemmas we now face, so much more true today and more obvious than when Knock wrote his article early in the last century.

Doug Ford

Doug Ford

For a current example, we can see the new Premier of Ontario, Mr. Ford, just starting his Augean attempt to roll back the perversions of the previous government in Ontario. this is just the tip of the iceberg of chaos we know as Canadian Society.

The moral, social, civil, political chaos we have brought upon ourselves is the direct result of the disastrous tenet of faithless “private interpretation,” and its ugly stepchild, “secular humanist progressivism,” namely, all good and all truth is relative.

This proven fraudulent creed of self worship blesses the spiritual and moral disorder produced by Protestantism, New Ageism, Agnosticism, Atheism, Masons, Scientologists, Progressives of every stripe, and all the rest of the faithless flock.

It blesses this disorder with the gooey mental salve of “one religion is as good as another,” and its equally absurd corollary, “It doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you lead a good life.”

As Fr. Sarda y Salvany states in the original edition of his book written in the late 19th century, “Protestantism is now a dead dog.” (Page 74 of the book). Even more so now in 2018 we can clearly see 23 distinct and authentic manifestations of the Catholic Church comprising the Latin Church and the 22 Eastern Catholic Churches all in communion with an unbroken history from Christ himself.

Looking out from that 2000 year old core of belief we see from the 16th century on a huge scattering as each man who rejected “Truth” started his own personal version of “truth” and pursued his own dream of what constituted “faith”, while conveniently dropping any requirements for “humility” and “obedience” without which virtues any faith is impossible..

The current landscape of culture and morality is now littered with the wreckage of virtually all the original mainstream Protestant sects and at present we can count  902 new sects including over 200 non-trinitarian sects, all of whom claim to have the one truth, and which arise and vanish like the leaves of summer.

Can they each and all be the unique sole purveyors of truth and light? Where can one start to find faith in this sea of differences?

It does seem a stretch when considered in the bright light of day through the lens of history with the wreckage mounting all around us.

Please visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominations    for the latest count.

Defeated Ontario Premier Wynne

Defeated Ontario Premier Wynne

And yet secular humanist progressivism still beats the drum in Protestantism’s defense. The social upheaval of our times, brought on by these false ideas, now demands acknowledgement of the death-knell of secular humanist progressivism.

We can no longer live with this rapid accretion of “new freedoms” and abandonment of the old order. We must reject these myriad errors in order to survive as a civilization.

For secular humanist progressivism in a society is like termites in a wooden house. They live off the house while it is still basically sound, saying all the while, “What harm do we do? The house still stands!”

But we know that the house of our civilization is getting progressively weaker as the termites, the secular humanist progressives increase and thrive, and at some point, in the not-too-distant future, the entire structure is going to collapse!

Progressive Public Relations Officer at a Press Conference

Progressive Public Relations Officer at a Press Conference

IMAO we are now there! Here in 2018 we are witnessing the slow motion demise of our culture and civilization, the long drawn out pathetic whimper as the life blood of truth drains away.  The long train of history is slowly rolling over the cliff as the progressives argue about the color of the new seats in the dome car. Mordor is triumphant everywhere.

We need to begin the process of exterminating the secular humanist progressive vermin with large antidotes of real, logical truth, taken from the wellspring of all truth, the Divinely Revealed Religion—the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Faith (Nicene Creed :  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicene_Creed   .

Icon depicting the Emperor Constantine, accompanied by the bishops of the First Council of Nicaea (325), holding the Niceno–Constantinopolitan Creed of 381

Icon depicting the Emperor Constantine, accompanied by the bishops of the First Council of Nicaea (325), holding the Niceno–Constantinopolitan Creed of 381

No other medicine will do for what is otherwise a terminal case for all of us.

We are dieing of a terminal case of liberal leprosy, and the smiling face of the diseased elite try to re-assure us while the rotting corpse sloughs off the  dead and dieing remnants of the past.

We are at the point where action is imperative. For our personal, earthly safety is at stake not to mention the vastly more important matter of the salvation of our souls.

But we can only act rightly if we know the truth and act in accordance with it. Truth matters. Actions have consequences. Bad beliefs produce bad outcomes.

Or is this all something different, just the latest chapter of the Never Ending Story … ? Are we really at that point at all?

Are we really being asked to fix all this, or are we actually being asked to just learn, in humility, with faith, how not to behave, because in the long game this world really doesn’t matter.

Qid hoc ad aeternitatem, indeed.

Anyone with a service record (vets) will understand that this collapse has all happened often in the past.

Read history. Learn from the past. Reality does not permit relativism to function unless it flourishes under the protection of the Legions.

But the progressives hate the legions because the legions represent all that they are not, everything they can never be, and everything they fear, namely Faith, loyalty, competence, pride, selflessness, integrity, courage, discipline, sacrifice, humility and tradition.

And when the progressives finally drive the legions beyond the walls then the civilization falls – any civilization – even today. So far we are still here … but … progressives come and go in every time and place.

In the Never Ending Story the world will always need faith, honor, loyalty, courage, integrity, discipline, sacrifice, humility, … and God’s legionaries.

God just keeps on giving us chance after chance to learn to live according to his will … it is up to us to take up the eagles and make it so.

Cheers

Joe

Qid hoc ad aeternitatem, indeed.

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The Inner Struggle

“Spirited Away” and living a lie …

So, in the interest of removing distraction and helping “silence” (see my last short post about silence and distractions) I am not including music tracks or pictures in this post.

In my ongoing thoughts about this life, this world and this society in which I find myself living, I have gradually become aware of the importance of not “living a lie”. I have become aware of the importance of understanding my true place as a human being in the universe, amongst everything visible and invisible, for all eternity, of understanding what constitutes my “reality”.

I will look first at what I perceive to be the “common”, that is “generally accepted”, morality of our modern progressive society, that is the “normal world” which we “advanced” westerners live in. What I am “on about” in this post is my understanding of the perceived logical inconsistency, the inherent lie, of the popular Modernist Progressive western worldview, namely, that all morality is nothing more than a difference of opinion.

Lest I be accused of doing the “Straw-man” thing here, let me be clear that what I understand as the Progressive world view is the view espoused by the self described “Left” or “Liberals”, based on almost everything I hear and read these days from mainstream media communication and news, and everything appearing on Social Media these days such as Facebook (as an example, check out the Facebook page “Being Liberal”).

As a result of these observations, it seems that the Progressive world view can be summarized as:  “We, the sophisticated modernist progressives (self proclaimed Brights) believe that our point of view is correct, and all others are wrong … our opinion is the right opinion, …  because we say so,  and if you disagree with us then you are obviously stupid, and perhaps, absent provable stupidity, then even evil“.

If that summary of the Leftist view, as I understand it to be, is not the current common belief of all Progressives everywhere then I have failed utterly to find any evidence of something different. So, since the accepted view seems to be that “all morality is relative”, and I have a different view than the current Liberal mainstream, I am faced with a logical contradiction, namely that I am either OK with having different views because all views are of the same value, or I am stupid or evil or both because my views are different from the mainstream.

I don’t think that I can be both right and wrong at the same time for any particular values of right and wrong, because these two positions are logical opposites and I manifestly cannot be both “OK” and “not OK” at the same time. Moral relativism holds that anyone who believes that others are wrong are themselves wrong by that very definition of moral relativism.

Therefore I cannot be stupid or evil because I disagree with the manifest view of mainstream morality, in fact I must be at least as “right” as anyone else, whatever their views, right? Did I miss something there? …  Anyone? … Anyone? I think C.S. Lewis touched on this in his article about “Bulverism“.

So can I assume that I am alright with my understanding of the current modern worldview, that is, all moral views are simply a difference of opinion, and I am OK, right? If there is something else besides “I’m OK, You’re OK” in modern morality then I guess I totally missed it somewhere along the path. If I did miss something important, if that is the case, then “My Bad” and please point me in the direction that shows something different.

Otherwise, on with the discussion of why it’s a mistake to accept logical inconsistencies, and even outright lies as the basis for one’s life. The 2 items of interest here are the area of popular entertainment (most of the post), and the area of abortion (as a short case study in illogicality).

First lets look at popular entertainment. The subtle misdirection and illogicality of this review of the film “Spirited Away”  might be missed in the beauty of the film itself, but is actually a gentle effort to direct us away from Truth towards the worship of man as the summit of all and sole arbiter of what is good. Because of the subtlety it is all the more dangerous, layering humanist philosophy onto a beautiful entertainment.

Often our modern adventure movies are set in strange worlds and climax with a battle between the forces of good, represented by the hero or heroine, and the forces of evil, represented by the stranger, the odd, or the mean-spirited — for example, a witch, sorcerer, power-mad ruler, or someone else who uses their power inappropriately (for example the Star Wars series or Marvel’s super hero films). The “common man” (that would be us) seems to have little difficulty with being “for” good, and “against” evil. It just seems like common sense, right?

The modern intellectual view, however, seems to be that these scenarios make it all too easy for filmgoers to cheer for the good guys (with whom they quite naturally identify) and boo the bad guys (stand-ins for everything they don’t approve of). The assumption appears to be that it is somehow wrong or misguided to cheer for good and boo evil because there is no intrinsic difference between good and evil.

The sophisticated view seems to be that to indulge in this sort of partisanship is simplistic and the refuge of the deluded. In this purportedly flawed view of reality, the world is seen as the stage for dueling dualisms, an “us” versus “them” narrative where it is perfectly acceptable for one side to completely obliterate the “other”.

Ironically, this seems to be especially true of reviewers and filmgoers who are opposed to any discussion of the existence and manifestations of evil, (the absence of good) all around us every day and in our own lives and the lives of others. They seem opposed to any divergence of opinion which might threaten their view of man as the pinnacle of all things and the sole arbiter of the “good”.

This error is rooted in the greatest and the favorite lie of all the modernist, progressive lies, and the fundamental evil of our modern western world, the moral relativism of “I’m OK, You’re OK”. In this deception, any “evil” is given a pass in the guise of being of being simply “different” cultural values, rather than being the object of legitimate discrimination between evil and good.

This results in the dressing up of a variety of deviance, perversion, criminality, or simply “evil” activities as nothing more than the “other and the “different”. It is definitely NOT all about differentiating between “good” and “evil”, and of course, only the ignorant and unenlightened would object to important causes such as the de-facto defence of NAMBLA, or perhaps the “Right to Choose” option championed by “Planned Parenthood” under the supposedly constitutional sobriquet of “Freedom of Choice”.

When this “view of reality”, this “moral relativism” is expressed in a popular movie is this just harmless entertainment? Or does this plant the seeds of doubt about the acceptability of moral relativism. Is calling entertainment which draws clear lines between right and wrong “simplistic storytelling”  that is contributing to the creation of “hostility” a truth of a fabrication?

Doesn’t this vilification of clear moral delineation actually support the modernist worldview that prejudice and hatred (of evil) are two diseases of the mind in which we project our feelings of fear, resentment, self-disgust, anger, alienation, and paranoia on others whom we perceive to be different (especially strangers). In other words is knowing the difference between good and evil actually an evil because in actuality there is no difference that matters. Because in this progressive modernist morality, good and evil are just different points of view!

Does not the presentation of “hospitality”, “empathy”, and “self-esteem”,  as antidotes or as “spiritual practices” depreciate the true spiritual virtues of “compassion”, “sacrifice”, “forgiveness”, “charity”, and “love of neighbor” and in reality render worship to man, and man’s “common decency” as the defining measure of good and evil.

Doesn’t this slight of hand, this lie, overturn the actual roots of man’s “common decency” illustrated in the two thousand year old religious understanding of the theological virtues of Faith, Hope, Charity or Love, and compassion and love of neighbor all of which are tied up in “sacrifice of self” and are anathema to the Modernist Progressive view of morality.

To turn things on their head and acclaim a movie as “sometimes a movie gets it right”, and point to a godless celebration of humanist values like the movie “Spirited Away” is a perversion and a lie. Because “Spirited Away” is, in fact, an excellent movie and an excellent story. This is an English-language version of a Japanese animated film by acclaimed filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki. In the film a ten-year old girl named Chihiro becomes lost in an alternate universe and must find within herself the pluck and the love to endure a series of dangerous tests before she can go home.

The wonderful story in “Spirited Away” is the sugar coated distraction on the pill of evil contained in the explanation of “good” springing fully formed from the human being. To claim that “It will remind some viewers of Alice in Wonderland and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” (because) “it is nothing short of wonderful to have a female protagonist on screen who engenders our empathy and support” deprecates and ignores the importance of the satire in the original work “Alice in Wonderland”, and “The Wizard of Oz”, ignores the true intent of these works and replaces the message of the originals with some shallow reverence to some “superior” politically correct progressive feminist ideal.

This is the fundamental error of believing that “all religions” are the same, also known as “Syncretism” and of equal relevance to the modern sophisticate, that is to say, not relevant at all since we now worship ourselves as the summit and sole arbiter of what is good and what is evil, and of course whatever we like or desire is the good and anyone who disagrees with us is evil or “not good”.

This flies in the face of the previous exposition regarding “judgement” and “discrimination”, the progressive’s immediate prequel condition that prejudice against any “other” or any “different” is in fact evil is immediately thrown away as they then dive into a rationalization of why they are the exclusive purveyor of what is “good” and all others are “evil.

The trap inherent in Syncretism is the denying of absolute truth, or of any truth, the oft misquoted Pontius Pilate “What is truth?” other than whatever I say it is. According to the Gospel of Wikipedia, some religions may have syncretic elements to their beliefs or history, but adherents of so-labeled systems often frown on applying the label, especially adherents who belong to “revealed” religious systems, such as the Abrahamic religions, or any system that exhibits an exclusivist approach. (the implication being here is that Abrahamic Religions are “exclusivist”and therefore questionable at best).

Such adherents (presumably to the Abrahamic religionssometimes see syncretism as a betrayal of their pure truth. By this reasoning, adding an incompatible belief corrupts the original religion, rendering it no longer true. Indeed, critics of a specific syncretistic trend may sometimes use the word “syncretism” as a disparaging epithet, as a charge implying that those who seek to incorporate a new view, belief, or practice into a religious system actually distort the original faith.

The consequence, according to (The Authority) of Keith Ferdinando, is a fatal compromise of the dominant religion’s integrity.[1] If one is unfamiliar with Professor Ferdinando then this reference, in this context, might be an acceptable appeal to authority for the validity of Syncretism, but even a passing acquaintance with his work would give this the lie.

Non-exclusivist systems of belief, (like modern progressive humanism)  on the other hand,  feel (reasonably) quite free to incorporate other traditions into their own whenever and however it suites their desires. In other words, adherence to revealed traditional Truth is a quaint superstition now superseded in our modern secular society.

Within that secular modern progressive society religious innovators often create new religions syncretically (New Age, Masons, some Protestant sects, Wicca, Pantheists, Scientology, Eckhart Tolle’s “Power of Now” movement, etc.)  as a mechanism to reduce inter-religious tension and enmity (seriously?), often with the at least partly intended effect of offending the original religions in question (but who cares about those superstitious savages).

Such modern religions, however, do maintain appeal to a less exclusivist audience (like we modern sophisticates where all Truth is merely fashionable opinion). Even the use of the term “audience” relegates religious belief to the sphere of “entertainment”. In other words, it is evil to point out the evil in the “other” or the “different” unless it is we the “good guys” pointing out the evil in those who disagree with us.

This “syncretic entertainment” argument employs the same logical subterfuge as the argument for “choice” enabling the rationalization of murder under the guise of abortion and the mother’s “right to choose” because the fetus is not a human but simply a piece of undifferentiated tissue. The big lie surfaces again with the case for abortion, in which it is an article of faith that “something” is “not something” unless and until we make an exception when we need it to be “something” rather than “not something” so that we can make handsome profit selling the “something”.

But at the same time as the child is described as “simply tissue” the abortionist is very careful in dismembering that child to insure recovery of undamaged organs which same organs are are then sold on the market to the highest bidder as “Human” organs of great value and for great profit for the abortionists and their companies.

That wonderful logical reality slip is where pointing out evil, drawing attention to evil is itself evil in the form of prejudice. Except that this sin is just A-OK when it is the progressives themselves painting all who disagree with them as evil, then it is all just fine, just like the explanation of the murder of a child as “simply the disposal of a piece of “undifferentiated tissue” which somehow miraculously becomes a few moments later, by some transubstantiation of the satanic abortion industry, a “human” organ for sale to the highest bidder.

This is the signature work of the Prince of This World, and his children follow his ways … “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44),

And this big lie, dressed in many little truths and facts, but twisted at the end into this perversion of logic, this ability to say one thing in support of one’s views regarding what that person finds desirable, and then immediately turn it all on it’s head and say the exact opposite a moment later as if somehow there is no connection, no logical connection, between the one and the other is the signal sign of the work of evil and the is the fundamental platform of the humanist progressive worship of man as the pinnacle of all things.

Well, that is quite a bit for now so I will move the rest of this to the next post – part II of

 

Cheers

Joe

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The Inner Struggle

Duty … Virtue … and especially Suffering …

Inner Thoughts”  Rodrigo Rodriguez, from the album “Inner Thoughts” (2006)

Marcus Aurelius – was Roman emperor from AD161 to AD180,

Marcus Aurelius – was Roman emperor from AD161 to AD180,

When searching for answers about “what constitutes right living?”, and “how does one know when one is following the right path?” one is really asking oneself “How do I know with certainty what is the will of God?”  Understanding the perfection of love, that is “love of another besides myself” consists in striving towards the perfect conformity of my will with the divine will.

I think it is sitting right in front of our face and residing in our soul of we are honest with ourselves. It is expressed  simply in a concrete and detailed way in the duties of my state and the various circumstances of my life. The “duties of my state” determine particularly how I must act on a daily basis so as to be always in conformity with the divine will.

Those duties are expressed in the commandments of God, known in “natural law” to all men, in all times, in rules and customs, commands of superiors, and tasks imposed by obedience, my duties are those required by my family life, my profession or occupation, my social activities, and by good citizenship.

And so, as is known in “natural law” to all men, in all times, Marcus Aurelius reflects on Duty: Our duty is to Begin the morning by saying to thyself, I shall meet with the busy-body, the ungrateful, arrogant, deceitful, envious, unsocial. All these things happen to them by reason of their ignorance of what is good and evil.

On Virtue: But I who have seen the nature of the good that it is beautiful, and of the bad that it is ugly, and the nature of him who does wrong, that it is akin to me, not only of the same blood or seed, but that it participates in the same intelligence and the same portion of the divinity, I can neither be injured by any of them, for no one can fix on me what is ugly, nor can I be angry with my kinsman, nor hate him,

On Suffering, : For we are made for co-operation, like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows of the upper and lower teeth. To act against one another then is contrary to nature; and it is acting against one another to be vexed and to turn away.” going forward in duty by virtue regardless of the consequences and violence we might suffer whenever the all too human tendency to refuse co-operation, to insist on doing things our own way, to work against each other and to experience the suffering inherent in human relations whenever the reality of selfishness and self worship impact the smooth exchanges of daily relations.

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book Two.

We understand, from reading the “ancients”, from reading the “classics”,  that “natural law” is knowable and known, to all men, in all times, since man began. And God’s will, as discerned in natural law, is also marked out for me by the circumstances of my life, whether it is important or not, down to the very smallest detail, in health or sickness, wealth or poverty, interior joy or aridity and emptiness, success or failure, struggles, misfortunes and losses.

From time to time I am presented with tasks – special tasks – of patience, generous activity, love, or renouncement, detachment, submission, and sacrifice. These tasks may come to me through the actions of my superiors, governing bodies, professional organizations, family members, or some combination of the actions and consequent fallout of such actions involving some or all of the above groups.

But everything is permitted by God, “To them that love God, all things work together unto good” (Rom 8, 28), so it remains to me to discover what the divine will may  be in each task with which I am presented. Sanctity does not consist in doing extraordinary things … sanctity is reduced to simply the fulfillment of duty … therefore it is most definitely possible for me to attain to sanctity regardless of how insignificant I may view my role in the tapestry of life.

Therefore I must be persevering and punctual in the fulfillment of my duties, diligent, being careful in my actions, accustoming myself to see the expression of God’s will in every one of my duties, no matter how trivial. I must fulfill my duties not only when I feel great fervor but also when I am sad, tired, frustrated, or in a state of spiritual aridity. I must express constancy with generosity.

It may feel small and insignificant but it takes uncommon virtue to fulfill all one’s duties without carelessness, negligence, or laziness, to avoid the pitfall of giving everything a “lick and a promise” or just going through the motions in order to “get it done”. It takes uncommon virtue to put the effort into attention, piety, and spiritual fervor, to pay attention to the details, for the whole combination of ordinary duties which make up my daily life. The details matter.

I must not be discouraged by failure, either resulting from outside forces or from my own failure of attention or lack of competence – my mistakes and forgetfulness and so on and so forth. Always acknowledge faults and failures, take ownership of them and begin again with renewed commitment.

What else is there to say about “duty”? It seems something of a truism that in our great self-regard we find it easier and more attractive to identify the duties of others than our own, and inversely, there will always be a plenitude of folks more than willing to tell us what our duty may be should we find ourselves momentarily unfocused and apparently idle.

Well, I suppose that might just be enough for one post – I will continue next post with thoughts a about virtue and how one employs virtue to carry out one’s duty and perhaps then into how this persevering way of life, constantly doing one’s duty by exercising virtue results in suffering …

Hmmm

Cheers

Joe

 

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

Logically Speaking … What If Everything The Progressives Assert Is True?

“Think Of Me”, Andrew Lloyd Webber, from the “Phantom Of The Opera” soundtrack album, (2004)

HotBathMonkey

HotBathMonkey

-8 degrees Celsius, sunny with cloudy periods, or cloudy with sunny periods. Sunday is a good day for thinking. I might even get dressed!  Or not! Sure wish I had a hot tub.

I’d guess that most of this is a personal gedanken experiment,  the meanderings of someone who has too much time to think and not enough experience of the reality of daily life given that I have retreated to the Shire and spend my time congratulating myself about how intelligent and fortunate I am.

So I am indulging  myself by contemplating my lack of charity, patience and humility, my default position (un-vocalized these days) that I know the answer, or at least I am on the right track, and anyone who doesn’t get that is an idiot, full of sound and fury but (fortunately) signifying nothing.

Why do I feel deeply offended by some of what I read over at (for example) Being Liberal (how convenient that there is an easily accessible site where the left can effusively wear their heart on their sleeve), and other sites, and by what I hear every day on most of the MSM both Canadian and American (thank God for satellite TV)? Polarized doesn’t even begin to describe the gulf between the views.

001-a-orcIs it uncharitably to imagine progressives in the image of Tolkien’s Orcs and Goblins? I am certain that in fact the orcs and goblins of “The Lord of The Rings” were in fact literary references to the progressives of Tolkien’s day. Was Tolkien uncharitable?

Is it because they and their opinions are truly wrong or is it simply because they don’t agree with me? Why do I strongly feel that they (Progressives) haven’t thought through the implications of their declarations about reality and desirable social engineering, and the concomitant ridiculing and vilification (Bulverism) of virtually any voice raised in disagreement (is this what I am doing?).

cs-lewis-tyrannyMany of these folks are manifestly intelligent and well intentioned. Many of them do a lot of “good” work, spending their lives helping the downtrodden and disenfranchised, the needy and destitute.

But equal or greater numbers seem to spend all their waking hours ridiculing their “enemy” and explaining in great depth and with great volume why anyone who disagrees with them, any religious who do not share their religion, are wrong and not to be credited with any reasonable points.

Any attempt to engage in any discussion is met with an immediate attack aimed at destroying the new opponent which their “sensors” have detected.

In a logically twisted sort of way it seems at times that if they ( Progressives) are right (as in “correct”) to castigate and vilify those whose views they don’t share, that is, if they are truly OK to be writing and broadcasting and posting what they “believe” is reality (because after all they are all “basically good people”), then it must be equally OK for me to do the same thing, right?

And if they are wrong about what they believe and post, etc., then is it not equally wrong for me to indulge myself , so where do we go from this impasse? How do we move from this “preferential option for confrontation” to a place where we can discuss methods and directions “with good will”?

Maybe the answer can be found in looking dispassionately at the declarations and the methods and examining the points, assumptions and observed results, all the while striving not to take anything personally. I think “Not taking anything personally”, even when is is obviously intended to be both personal and as hurtful as possible, is how we get out of this conflict.

That requires a boatload of Charity and Humility, which I find to be in short supply these days. That’s what I’m working on, and I am making progress, albeit glacially at times.

So methods and declarations, the slings and arrows of outrageous fate … I find these days, having arrived at a political position closely akin to “A Pox On All your Houses“, that politics simply no longer provokes anything beyond sadness, but Faith, Logical argument, unreasoned Theological or Philosophical opinions still field barbs I cannot resist. No lack of Pride there, eh?

“The Music Of the Night”, Andrew Lloyd Webber, from the “Phantom Of The Opera” soundtrack album, (2004)

For example, “God can create anything so can he create a weight too heavy for him to lift? (or some other rhetorical impossibility)”.  This is a rhetorical question of the sort I have had thrown at me when I respond or comment on egregious declarations about Catholicism.

In the past, unfortunately, I had great difficulty letting them pass (still a struggle) and my naturally provocative nature makes non-believers uncomfortable.

Which sort of discussions frequently came up (before I learned to keep my damned mouth shut) when being accosted by unbelieving family members (or other acquaintances who are also unbelievers) who in their cleverness and self worship imagine themselves astute. ( AHA!  I’ve got ya now Joe). Let’s discredit Truth and by proxy discredit guilt and responsibility.

Another variation goes like this “If god can do anything, can he create a 4 sided triangle or a square circle?” (Now I’ve really gotcha, eh?). The argument might be termed “Reductio ad absurdum” but is actually “Ad hominum”.  Always looking for a way to put down and belittle believers, insecure in their unbelieving, and unaware of their logical error since logic has been conspicuous by it’s absence for most of their 50 or 60 years on this earth.

Of course God CAN create anything, and God CAN do anything … except self contradiction is not a thing. God is THE absolute almighty being and imagining a weight which The Almighty can’t lift is is to imagine a contradiction in terms. A four sided triangle or a square circle are glib but utterly meaningless constructs.

001-eskimo-inuit-sunglassesThese geometric and physical fantasies are all nonsense, all nothing, rather like approaching the real world with nothing but theories about how things “should” operate and more theories about why the world doesn’t conform to the first theories. And if the world fails to conform to one’s narrow view, well, I have a theory about that…

If one is accustomed to believing one’s theories about the world and people no matter how incongruent with observed facts and events, when the world diverges from the theories, then it is a small leap to believing that things like square circles are logical.

By way of illustrating the prevalence of illogic in daily life let’s look at the canard of “Pro Choice”. Very popular with my sisters – Pro-Choice – interesting place to build your house of cards.

Imagine us entering a restaurant and being shown to our table by a helpful Maitre d’. The waiter approaches with your drinks and menus and everyone quietly peruses their menu. The waiter returns after the drinks are almost gone to take our order “Ladies and Gentlemen, may I take your order, what are your choices?”.

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Vulnerable … the Deception

I order Prime Rib Au Jus, rare with all the trimmings and veggies, my partner chooses the Baked Atlantic Salmon with Roast Potatoes and a Spinach Salad, the rest of the guests reply “Yes!”

The waiter, a little confused, repeats “What are your choices, folks?” and the rest of the guests reply again “Yes!, we are pro-choice, therefore Yes!, our choice is “choice”!

“I am very sorry folks but we cannot serve “choice” here, we are unable to create “choice” here, we need you folks to make a choice between the various items which you have on the menu.

Then and only then can we move forward here, you have to MAKE a choice, “choice” is not a choice.  The waiter is faced with an insoluble problem both logical and grammatical.

You have to make a choice!  You can’t choose “Life” because that would make you “Pro-Life”, and unfortunately the only other “choice” is “Death”. Death for the children, death for the elderly, death for the handicapped, death for the ugly, “eugenics” that’s the game, and we are well on our way to the Great Society. Newspeak presents “Pro-Choice” as a euphemism for “Kill everyone who you find inconvenient”.  Pro-Choice is the biggest, most cowardly, cop-out of our modern society.

USHMM 89063 Men with an unidentified unit execute a group of Soviet civilians kneeling by the side of a mass graveWhat’s the moral difference between killing folks in a clinic, and killing folks in a ditch?

The logic of “Pro-Choice” can apply to any behaviour in the entire range of human behaviors, and the language of Progressive Newspeak will give you a get out of jail free card for any perversion or inhuman crime imaginable. Just vote the right way and you can do anything you like, because you are basically a nice person, right?

There is no such thing as sin, “I’m OK, You’re OK” that’s what Progressive Social Theory teaches the voting public. And this social theory leads to some unbelievable practices. But the problem is that “denial” is not the same as “proof”, and material reality in every aspect requires “proof”. Of course, “outside” the material is also part of reality but no proof regarding extra-material things is possible for humans.

Any cursory observation of modern life and the memes dispensed by the talking heads on MSM outlets make it manifestly obvious, that for the Secular Progressive Humanist, the Theory is more important than facts, logic or anything else, especially any part of daily reality that seems to go against the Theory!

Unfortunately, if one is completely immersed in the sea of illogicality it is impossible to understand that God cannot do or create anything that is a self contradiction. All self contradiction, is nonsense, is “Nothing”. There is no such thing as a “Triangle which has three sides, but on some occasions it might have four, maybe.” This is a “nothing”.

Self contradiction is a place reserved for Modern Humanist “Thinkers”.  Self contradiction is a “nothing” and as some of us know “nothing is impossible to God”.

Back before there were “Progressives”, and “Wiccans, and Gia,  and “Atheists”, and “Secular Humanists”, and “National Socialists”, aka Modern Progressive Humanists of all stripes, the folks (and philosophers and scientists for that matter) understood that you needed both “Theories” and “Practice”.

Learn To Be Lonely”, Andrew Lloyd Webber, from the “Phantom Of The Opera” soundtrack album, (2004)

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Queen of The Sciences

So, our medieval ancestors understood Theology as the “Queen of the Sciences”. Her twin sister Sophia (the Greek word for “wisdom”) was also venerated in the discipline of Philosophy. It was hard to tell the two beauties apart, but together they once ruled the many domains of human knowledge. This was the domain of “Theory”. Theories fell into the disciplines of Theology (The Queen of the Sciences) and Philosophy (Wisdom).

Practice was how you did things in the material world while taking into account the dictates of the Queen and the Handmaid. The practice was guided by the theory, but the theory was proven out by the practical experience of daily life. Theory and Practice are equal partners. Theory without Practice is like a wagon without wheels, a hard load to pull. Equally, Practice without Theory, is like riding swiftly down the road in your wheeled wagon while stone cold blind, a sure recipe for utter disaster!

001-a-star-trek-motivational-posters-captToday we find that Philosophy and Theology are increasingly irrelevant backwaters in the modern university, ridiculed for engaging in seemingly endless “solipsistic” debates. Not surprisingly,  we find the modern view is theoretical, Godless, and endlessly self referential.

Gee! That sure sounds like the actual definition of solipsism! Solipsism is the idea that a person’s mind is the only thing that actually exists. It is a philosophical argument that maintains reality is based on the perceptions of one’s mind, and therefore nothing really exists except for that perceptual reality of one’s mind.

So how do they come off accusing the disciplines of Philosophy and Theology of “solipsism” when the foundation of  both sciences is fundamentally outward looking in search of answers that man cannot find on his own – nothing even slightly self referential there. I’d guess this skull twister would be explained buy the modern concepts of “attribution” and “transference”, but that discussion has to be for another day.

Cheers

Joe

coptic-desertPatience, Charity, Humility. Patience, Charity, Humility. Patience, Charity, Humility. Patience, Charity, Humility. It’s like climbing Everest!

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The Inner Struggle

From the Point Of View Of Spirit …

“Crux Fidelis”, Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, from the album “Lent at Ephesus”, (2014)

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The Isenheim Altarpiece is an altarpiece sculpted and painted by, respectively, the Germans Niclaus of Haguenau and Matthias Grünewald in 1512–1516

Today I have used images taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, The Isenheim Altarpiece is an altarpiece sculpted and painted by, respectively, the Germans Niclaus of Haguenau and Matthias Grünewald in 1512–1516.

I will not just copy everything they have to say about it but suffice to say go on over and visit it and read the article, it is worth one’s time to understand better the past history which contributed to Western European Civilization’s rise, especially since we are in such a hurry to blow it all away in our modern progressive wasteland.

So after the last blogpost it might appear we have swerved off the road, but in fact all of the items, objections, observations, and situations complained about, and judged, and questioned in that post are firmly rooted in my own biases, attractions, beliefs, and narratives in and about this material world.

In short, my ego, my “self” is intimately enmeshed in all my observations and conclusions, MY plans, MY dreams, MY opinions, MY understanding. I don’t believe that I am uniquely blessed. I believe that we all share these attachments to the material, especially if we strongly believe that this time based material reality is all there is.

Viewed through my human nature, all these things are ultimately important, but viewed through my soul nature they are really seen to be unimportant and irrelevant, mere distractions on the path. And yet … and yet … we insist on refusing to see what is right before us. We dive into the unreal and forsake the real for the sake of our passions, our tastes, our desires, our egos.

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Grunewald – Isenheim Altarpiece – First View

Barabbas is in each one of us. We are scoundrels, experts in selfishness, boasting, lust, violence and greed. We are bandits, taking God’s many gifts and ungratefully neglecting them and squandering them.

We take for granted the most precious realities of life: family, life, nature, health, faith, and the sacraments.  We squander our talents, our money, our time, and the love others offer us.

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Grunewald Isenheim Second View

We are quick to criticize and judge, to steal others’ honor and sully it with our moral and intellectual myopia. What do we, who are so flawed, so weak, so slow to repent, and so reluctant to serve — what do we deserve?

Certainly not God’s love, certainly not his continued forgiveness, certainly not redemption, hope, peace, and heaven. Strictly speaking, we deserve to be cut off from the kingdom against which we have so often rebelled — just like the murderous insurgent Barabbas.

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Grunewald Isenheim Third View

And yet, Jesus overlooks what we deserve. It is Passover, and the angel of justice passes over the sinner to wreak his punishments on the Lamb of God instead. Look at the Lord with the eyes of Barabbas. Is there any heart that loves you more than His Sacred Heart? Is there any heart more trustworthy than the heart that died so that you might have abundant life? John Bartunek, LC, ThD.The Better Part”, pp321

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Grunewald’s Risen Christ

We insist on refusing to see what is right before us — we refuse to see reality through the eyes of our spirit/soul — we clutch at our “self” and our passions, appetites, vices, and sins, because, as Screwtape says (about half way down one of my posts): “you must remember that he (us) takes Time for an ultimate reality”.

As we walk through this “valley of death”, this mortal world full of evil both without and within, we find that the closer we cling to the visible, material, temporal vision, the more we fear.  Because when you really look at everything around us, the happenings, and events, and personal relations, and national relations, the EVERYTHING in TIME, the more we fear.

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Mathis Gothart Grunewald’s “St. John The Baptist” illum oportet crescere me autem minui (Vulgate, John 3:30 ), “He must increase, but I must decrease.

Because, if we actually pull our collective heads out of the “sand” (or wherever) the more we have to acknowledge that there is not one damned thing we can do about any of it and if this is all there is then we may just as well end it all. If this is all there is then what is really the point? 

This morning I visited another WordPress blog which I follow at “Finding Hope”  Often I am encouraged and given hope reading what this person writes. This time I found there a story specifically about this struggle with “What’s The Point”. It brought me to tears and to prayer:

A Prayer of Sorrow

” I have fallen, Lord, once more. I can’t go on. I’ll never succeed. I am ashamed.  I don’t dare look at you. And yet I struggled, Lord, for I knew you were right near me, bending over me, watching.

But temptation blew like a hurricane, and instead of you I turned my head away. I stepped aside, while you stood silent and sorrowful. Lord, don’t look at me like that.

For I am ashamed and sorrowful. I am down, shattered, with no strength left. I dare make no more promises. I can only stand bowed before you.

 Come, Child, look up. Isn’t it mainly your vanity that is wounded? If you loved me you would grieve but you would trust. Do you think that there is a limit to God’s love? Do you think that for a moment I stopped loving you? But you still rely on yourself.

 You must rely on me. Ask my pardon and get up quickly. You see, it’s not falling that is worse, but staying on the ground.”

Wow …

If we are not careful we find ourselves angry with God because “He is doing this to me!” and we can’t bring ourselves to recognize our own failings and faults, and that God is not really “doing this to us” but just watching us sorrowfully from His eternal NOW as we do these spiteful things to “punish” Him.

And then consider how much of what we do daily is out of spite and passive aggression.  Spite at family members, spite at neighbours, spite at friends, spite at groups of people we “have a bone to pick” with, spite at other drivers, spite at other folks in public places or in the news, spite at professional groups, anyway, you get my drift.

Matushka Juliana Schmemann, Fr. Alexander Schmemann, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Matushka Juliana Schmemann, Fr. Alexander Schmemann, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Our spiritual point of view completely obscured by passion , resentment and pride, so we do and say things we later regret or find are mistaken in their target and intent. “Every evil screams out only one message: “I am good”! And not only does it scream, but it also demands that the people cry out tirelessly in response: ‘You  are good, you are freedom, you are happiness’ “(Father Alexander Schmemann)

All of these passions painting layer upon layer of darkness on the vision of our soul/spirit, completely obscuring reality. These “little sins” of spite, of holding grudges and passive aggression until vengeance be meted out are really great big sins of pride, of our ego, of needing to be seen and heard and esteemed, even by God, if we still remember Him.

My mother (God rest her soul) went to her grave, “died unshriven”  as they say, or bás a fháil gan sagart” as our Irish ancestors would say, that is “not having confessed sins to a priest and been given absolution”  after 32 years of rejecting God and the church and the sacraments. Because she just couldn’t accept that God’s plan for her life did not align with her plan for her life. After my father died, at 57,  my mother (always a very stubborn woman) rejected the church, priests, God, religion, holding out for her plan, until vengeance be meted out.

001-vasily_perov_-_%d0%bf%d0%be%d1%80%d1%82%d1%80%d0%b5%d1%82_%d1%84-%d0%bc-%d0%b4%d0%be%d1%81%d1%82%d0%be%d0%b5%d0%b2%d1%81%d0%ba%d0%be%d0%b3%d0%be_-_google_art_project

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

In her early life, although we were poor, she did her best to raise us children so that we never wanted for anything essential, even including making our clothes.  She looked out for us with devotion and worshiped my father as her eternal love.  She died a unhappy woman at 92 still holding out for the material reality of her plan and rejecting the soul/spirit view of eternity.

God gave her 32 more years after he took Dad, to come to an understanding of reality and we discussed it and argued about it countless times for 32 years. I must have been a real pain in the ass when all she really wanted was to be left alone in her bitterness.

In some ways she reminded me, in the last 30 years of her life, of “The Old Woman and The Onion” fable which appears in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel “The Brothers Karamazov“.  My mother refused to give up her narrative and her plan regardless of the cost.

And all that misery and bitterness because she took TIME for reality and could never bring herself to accept that this world didn’t matter, that she had to give up HER plan for life and accept God’s plan:

15Love not the world, nor the things which are in the world. If any man love the world, the charity of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17And the world passeth away, and the concupiscence thereof: but he that doth the will of God, abideth for ever. (1 John 2, Douay-Rheims Bible)

We would be better to write poems of Love to God:

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Ah, Love, let us be true to one another!
For the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.”

(Mathew Arnold, English Poet, 1822 — 1888)

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“An Taiseirl (The Resurection)”, Noirin Ni Riain and The Monks Of Glenstal Abbey, from the album “Vox de Nube”, (1996)

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Inuit Snow Goggles

It seems obvious at this point what reality is and what the choice is that must be made, between a short syllable of time or all eternity, to devote our short lives to chasing happiness and success in this world or take off our goggles and pursue eternity.

But in order to detach from the important material things which fill up our lives and leave us bitter and afraid we have to abandon our “self”–ishness and trust God. Selfishness is rooted in “FEAR” of loosing something good for ourselves or missing out on something which might make us happy, or whatever … we often do not even know what it is we are afraid of loosing or missing out on, but we are sure someone else is getting it and we are not.

The main obstacle or hurdle to overcome when approaching the spirit/soul point of view is self love. It is immensely difficult to develop detachment from this world while fully immersed in the pool of self love where this time based world is everything.

By immersing oneself in the world of spirit, outside time and space, where everything material is unimportant we are able to appreciate and understand just what an infinitesimal part of reality is the part with time, which we choose to believe constitutes all of reality.

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Air Force One

So we have to give up our self and trust God, a difficult target when we have so much trouble trusting our family or our friends, or the folks at work or at the corner store.

Trust; trust God, who knows us so much better than we even know ourselves since he conceived us and created us and he loves us more than we love ourselves and he wants nothing more than our absolute happiness and well being. He knows what we need.

So in conclusion (for now)  “LET IT GO!” We have to move from “My will be done” to “Thy will be done”. Our future depends on it. Salvation does not arrive on Air Force One. Or any other means of conveyance.

Cheers

Joe

 

100-canadian-landscapeWe fight the long defeat because results are not as important as our Father’s delight. We fight the long defeat because we are not the authorities over “success.” We fight the long defeat because the final victory is coming.

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